After a busy day of recording, Baby Blue was kind enough to have a chat over some coffee with me. Repping South London, she spans the Atlantic in two ways, via her parentage as well as taking musical influence not just from Britain but from America as well, which unfortunately means some ears will shut off instantly without giving her a proper hearing. However, if those ears can be re-opened, Baby Blue will be happy to change views mainly with her emceeing skills, but also by answering her critics in interviews such as the one below.
Can you introduce yourself please?
Hello, my name’s Baby Blue.
And can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy on life?
My philosophy on life is just basically work hard at what you want to do. And if you love something, to just work hard at it, and go as far as you can with it. Which is what I’m doing at the moment cos my love is hip hop, and music, so basically I’m trying to excel in that.
Considering the current blurring of musical boundaries, are you hip hop?
I definitely am hip hop. I’ve grown up listening to hip hop, and I think that people kind of misunderstand me, they think cos of the way I look, or cos of the type of style I do, well, I feel like I’ve been underestimated by certain people, and people can only judge me once they’ve heard a lot of my material. So, yeah, of course I’m hip hop, that’s what I’ve grown up listening to and that’s what I love.
So what makes a good emcee in your opinion?
A good emcee is a good all round artist and they should be able to know how to make good songs, and know how to make a good album as well, but also be able to ride on a beat, or flow on a beat, on any beat, and be versatile. I don’t think it’s just about being able to spit and drop in a couple of good punch lines, it’s about being an all round artist.
A lot of UK heads don’t have much love for some of the artists that you’ve collaborated with such as Eurogang and SAS, why do you think that is?
I think the people who listen to the kind of older hip hop, they’re not necessarily happy to see a new breed of artist coming through, especially artists which are more influenced by American culture, and the American side of things. But I think people should understand that you can’t restrict music, and whoever wants to make it is going to make it, and in the style that is comfortable to them. And if you feel it, you feel it, and if you don’t, you don’t, but that’s all there is to it. You can’t say that someone’s not doing real hip hop cos there’s so many different types. And people are influenced by whatever.
“…My love is hip hop, and music, so basically I’m trying to excel in that…“
There’s been a definite increase in the amount of women involved in hip hop, how has that helped your own career?
When I started out, there weren’t any women really in hip hop, only in America, and it was only people like Lauryn Hill. So really, it hasn’t helped that much, cos the majority of the time I’ve been doing this, there haven’t been very many females around. It’s helping now cos it’s more acceptable to be a female in hip hop, so it’s a lot easier to get through and to be seen as an equal.
And how do you feel about being involved in a mainly male orientated scene?
Sometimes it’s quite hard because people don’t take girls as seriously in hip hop. And they expect girls to sing, and we’re not all singers, so you have to prove yourself, you have to do a lot more work as a female, you’re not gonna get respect just like that because people think more about your image then about what you’re saying. And I’ve got a lot to say, and if people buy my album when it comes out and they listen to my next mixtape, they’ll see I’ve got a lot to say and that I’m a serious rapper, I’m not just in this for a joke.
So how was your recent Out of the Blue Volume 1 mixtape received?
It’s gone really well, it’s selling out all over the country. At the moment I’m working on Volume 2, I’m wrapping it up at the moment, so that should be out next month, and that’s gonna be big too.
“…I get a lot of love from a lot of hip hop DJs…“
Obviously you’ve had a lot of support from 1Extra’s Ace & Invisible, but are you getting any love from DJs who are more specifically hip hop orientated like Rodney P & Skitz or Excalibah?
Yeah, I’ve had a lot of love from Excalibah, he plays my stuff quite regularly. I know Rodney P & Skitz have played songs that I featured on, but I don’t know about my own songs. But I get a lot of love from a lot of hip hop DJs, Penfold on Itch FM, 279 on Choice has played a lot of my stuff, it’s all love.
And what can we expect from the next instalment of your mixtape?
Basically, there are some more collaborations on there, I’ve got Sway on there, Swiss, SAS, Shystie, a rapper called Insane, Shameless is on there. It’s a movement from the first volume, and it’s more expression from myself. But it’s also to promote my album which is gonna be coming out later on in the year.
“…People should understand that you can’t restrict music…“
And can you tell us a little bit about your album? When’s it coming out?
Well, it’ll be coming out towards the end of the year, I’ve started recording it now. I’m a few tracks into it, I’m hoping to work out in America for it, but I’m doing the majority of it here.
Back to the question of hip hop, how did you first get into listening to it?
My older brother used to play a lot of the older stuff back when I was younger, so I used to hear it through that. But then someone gave me the Nas CD, Illmatic, and I just loved it. And every time he had an album out, I bought it. I love Nas, and he’s really my main inspiration, the one who got me into hip hop. But then I started listening to Biggie, Tupac and Jay-Z along the years.
And do you have any other idols and influences?
I have a lot of influences from R&B and soul, Music Soul Child, Stevie Wonder, Genuwine, Lauryn Hill. I listen to a wide range of music. I do mainly listen to hip hop, but I listen to a lot of R&B and other things as well.
And do you listen to any UK hip hop?
Yeah, Klashnekoff, Lowkey, Sway, SAS, Swiss, Estelle, yeah there’s a lot of big people in the UK, a lot of talent. And it’s changing now, a lot of people are coming through who wouldn’t have come through before. It’s good to see it growing.
Do you have an opinion on grime?
I think it’s big, it’s something that’s really good when you come into the club and it comes on, it’s chaos in the clubs when it comes on. But it’s not something I would really sit in my house and listen to. I’m feeling it, and I feel a lot of the artists, and the beats are big, and if I like a grime beat I’ll still spit on it, but my main thing is hip hop.
“…It’s more acceptable to be a female in hip hop…“
And who would you like to work with if you could pick any artist, dead or alive?
Stevie Wonder. He’s the best singer, and he’s the best songwriter, and a lot of the R&B singers around now have been influenced by him very strongly, you can tell. People like Usher, Glen Lewis, Music Soul Child, Genuwine, they’ve all been influenced by him as a singer and a songwriter.
And where do you hope to be in five years time?
I hope to be putting out music to the world, regularly. And I want to have my label and my production company set up, but basically I want to be putting music out on a global scale and representing the UK.
And what’s it like having an American and an English parent?
It’s cool, it’s the same as anything else. But it’s good that I’ve got that American influence. And most of my family lives in America, so when I go out there I have places to stay, which is nice. And I hear about the new stuff that is coming out, in terms of music, before most people, so it’s good. And I’ve been inspired by my American side, and I love America, and I love going out there. In America, hip hop is so massive, when you go out there, you can feel it.
“…If people buy my album when it comes out and they listen to my next mixtape, they’ll see I’ve got a lot to say and that I’m a serious rapper…“
So would you consider moving there to try and infiltrate the scene there?
I definitely will go there at some point, and even since I was young I’ve had plans to move out there. And like I said, I want to put my music out to the world, and hip hop is biggest in America, so I’ll definitely go out there, I just don’t know when. I’m trying to establish myself in this country first though.
And finally, and shout outs you want to make?
Big up Base ‘n’ Rebulz, the world will know. Big up all the artists I’ve mentioned, Sway, Swiss, Eurogang, Insane. And everyone else, just watch out for the album later this year, and Out of the Blue Volume 2, coming soon! And check out www.babyblueonline.com as well.
So as you can see, she has a lot to say, and obviously has as much of a love for hip hop as your average head. And why not check out her mixtape to hear her mic skills for yourself?